Not for the first time, Jim Carrey just can’t stop himself. The new comedy from director Peyton Reed (Bring It On, The Break-Up) casts ol’ rubber-chops as a loser forced to say “yes” to life.
Like in Liar Liar, where he was a loser compelled to tell the truth. Like in Bruce Almighty, where he was both a loser empowered to commit random acts of divinity and a wilting box-office draw compelled to prove he could still cash cheques by sheer force of gurning…
Loosely based on Scots writer Danny Wallace’s comic account, Yes runs on Carrey-patented formula: high concept and low larks with schmaltz to go.
Carrey’s Carl Allen is a serial life-dodger. Hung up on his divorce, he’s a total downer to be around. Then one TV dinner too many drives Allen to the seminar of a self-affirmation guru (Terence Stamp), where he commits to say “Yes” to all opportunities offered.
If Carl opens life’s doors, could he, like, enjoy stuff? And hook up with indiechic chicks (a kooky Zooey Deschanel) 18 years his junior?
As Carrey bares his gnashers at Deschanel like Dracula with an LA dentist, his act can’t help but look its age. Sure, he tries hard. He bungee-jumps, tapes his face up to gurn some more, glugs Red Bull. But the gags haven’t got wings: they look tired and desperate.
A sequence involving oral sex and Fionnula Flanagan’s dentures out-grosses the Farrellys, but they peaked ages ago, too. And, incidentally, the Carrey-Flanagan age-gap is only two years over the Carrey-Deschanel age-gap. Who’s out-grossing who?
This isn’t a Carrey homecoming: it’s Carrey in mid-life regression mode. Will it reassert his bankability? Who cares?The guy played Truman. He can do better than peddle old jokes and chase young women.
Carrey’s act becomes a schtick to beat himself with here. Far from being cosily familiar, his routines reek of diminishing returns. And with the gags creaking, there’s nothing to distract you from how paper-thin the premise is.